i create. i am a creation.

OF THE THINGS LEFT UNSAID (A fiction)

Posted on: December 14, 2015

She has always loved the sea.

Staring at it makes her feel like the world is finite…but there’s something that lies beyond what her eyes can see. Something massive and unreachable. Making her restless.

Yearning for something indescribable.

Adrienne continued to stare at the lights winking at her just past the Flyer. Skyscrapers, like sentinels guarding the city’s wealth, were beautifully lighting up the hot, humid night.

There were several teenagers awkwardly doing skateboard tricks on the pavement while cyclists whizzed past her. She then looked at the footbridge wrapped with purple fairy lights, leading pedestrians from Gardens by the Bay towards the Esplanade.

It’s a long walk. But then I have the whole night, Adrienne thought. She just didn’t want to go back to her hotel. Not just yet.

Four hours ago she was frantically typing on her phone, chatting with Rhodora as she sweltered under a canopy next to the domed building, which was one of the government initiatives to make up for the city’s lack of natural attraction.

“He said he would be late. He was just finishing up something in the office,” Adrienne remembered typing on her phone.

“Ok. You’ve been there for 30 mins already. If he doesn’t come it’s either: 1) He’s too chicken to show his face because he still feels something or 2) He has moved on,” Rho replied.

An hour went by and Adrienne sweated profusely. Something important might really have come up, she argued to herself.

Ping. Ping. She looked at her phone.

“Sorry I can’t come. Still fighting this nasty flu. Have to stay in the office.”

There, it was final. Nail on the coffin.

She can recall tasting her salty tears behind her sunglasses. Then came the bitter aftertaste.

She copy-pasted Matt’s text message to Rho.

Ping.

“Sorry, Rienne. I don’t know what to say,” her friend said. She could feel pity behind those black pixels.

A few days back, Matt was agog to play host after she told him she would be coming to the city for business. He told her he would fetch her from the airport. They would be going to some watering hole and catch up. After all ten years is a long time.

She was not the one who sought him out. It was Matt all along who planned her itinerary in the city. Wait, wait, don’t worry about me. I have business to attend to first, Adrienne told him. No no, I have to challenge you to a drinking contest, just as I promised before, he said.

Ding-dong. “In fifteen minutes we would be closing…” the public announcement system rambled on, bringing Adrienne back to the present, back to the steel bench she has been occupying for heaven knows how long.

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Her feet led her to the concrete steps of the footbridge with purple fairy lights. Where would I go? Ah, to the weird durian-looking thing, she decided. Might as well check out life on the other side of the Bay.

But why am I still here, Adrienne asked herself as she looked past the old man on a bike, peddling LED trinkets to tourists. Why am I torturing myself?

She rummaged through her bag for her phone. Nothing. Eerily silent. Damning silence reverberated through her consciousness.

A jogger brushed past her, almost making her lose balance. Yeah right, I haven’t eaten anything since lunch, Adrienne suddenly realized. She took the nearest seat and then she found herself sitting across the regal-looking Fullerton building. Uncannily similar to the Old Post Office back home.

With all the the strength she could muster, she fired up her phone and went to search for her Notes. Scrolled. Copy. Paste on the message field:

“Matt,

What I wanted to accomplish on this trip was supposed to be something that I should have done a long time ago. I left so many things unsaid.

I wanted to tell you over bottles of beer that you were an itch that I had to scratch. And scratch I did. The problem is it took me a decade to do that. I wanted to tell you that I fell in love with a ghost, a ghost that never went away. You were with me but you had never been with me. I didn’t know it then.

I buried you by jumping from one relationship to another, without knowing that it was you who I wanted. I thought of taking a job in this city but I could not figure why I had to abandon all that is familiar to me. I thought I was running away from something I could not fathom. But it was only much, much later that I realized I wanted to run to you. Which sucks, by the way, so I have to get you out of my system.

I do not expect to gain anything from this except maybe closure. I need to move on.

Goodbye and have a happy life. Don’t go looking for me.”

Sent. To Matt.

She remembered a few days ago Rho told her that the note was cruel. “WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH THAT?” she told her friend, in all caps. “YOU ARE A SELFISH LITTLE B*TCH. Now Matt will become unstable. Think of the consequence!”

“I don’t know. I just want peace. I want to move on and not hang on to somebody that was never mine and will never be,” Adrienne said with finality.

The ghostly facade of Fullerton was taunting her. Well then, I accept your challenge, old girl. I will walk up to you, she thought to herself. Adrienne was already strolling across another foot bridge to where the Merlion has reigned for so many years when suddenly the Sands’ top flashed its green laser across the bay. Oh, they were starting the lights show, Adrienne grinned to herself.

Ping. Ping.

“I don’t know what to say,” the message from Matt said. Adrienne sucked in her breath. Her world stopped.

“To be fair,” Matt continued, “Yes, I was crazy about you then. You can even ask my family about it. The letters, the exchanges we had were precious to me as well. But then one day you told me that you just got a boyfriend. I told myself, I will give you time. Plenty of time. Then life got in the way. We both went our different ways. Choices made. But there were never regrets.”

The laser multiplied and danced across the Bay.

“Haha, this is awkward. But really, I wanted to say it to your face,” she typed frantically. “I just wanted to be free of you. Close the book. Move on.” She didn’t know if she made any sense at all.

The eerie music accompanying the dancing lights made her hair stand on its end.

Adrienne heaved a sigh. “Well thanks anyway for not being weird about this and all,” she typed. “I’ll be going home tomorrow. Have to sleep now. Goodnight.”

The lights finally made their encore, with the buildings below the Sands all lit up and the green and blue laser lights beaming out across the dark water. As if they were all trying to embrace Adrienne.

Ping. “Goodnight.”

The streetlights dotting an already sleeping Manila were like orange poppies blooming in the black velvety meadow, which was suprisingly bereft of the smog that has constantly blanketed the city.

Adrienne has never seen Manila this beautiful and peaceful.

A few minutes later the plane landed smoothly on the runway and taxied its way to Terminal 2. She stared at her phone as the other passengers scrambled to get their stuff overhead or under their cramped seats.

Any moment now Adrienne would be stepping back to her familiar world that has changed a million times since she left three days ago.

Her fingers flicked and swiped over her phone’s screen. Matt’s number and the rest of his contact details appeared.

Delete.

She would be getting a new phone number.

###
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life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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